Parenting is full of tough decisions, and since parents are human, they’re not always going to make the right ones.
But sometimes the decisions they make are so astoundingly terrible, we hope it’s not reflective of their overall parenting, agreed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Fed up with their nine-year-old son not getting up at 7 AM each day, Redditor aitaminecraftworld told him that they would be punishing him if he did not change his routine.
But when he stopped eating as a result of his punishment, the Original Poster (OP) wasn’t sure what to expect next.
They asked the sub:
“AITA for deleting my son’s Minecraft world?”
The OP was not happy with their son’s sleeping schedule.
“I have 2 children, a 9-year-old son and a 6-year-old daughter. My son had a Minecraft world where he built quite an impressive castle on an island, which he was very proud to show to me.”
“Since school was canceled, he has had issues with waking up on time. He is supposed to wake up at 7 each morning, but for the past month, he has been sleeping in until about 9 or 10.”
“I always set an alarm for him, but he sleeps right through it. I don’t wake him up because waking himself up is a skill that he needs to learn.”
“I told him about 2 weeks ago that there are going to be consequences for him if he continues to sleep in every morning.”
“At first, he understood and was waking up on time every morning.”
The OP decided to follow through with their original punishment plans.
“But for the past week or so, he has fallen back into old habits. I told him yesterday that this is his final warning. Today, he slept in until 11.”
“So I followed through with my warning, and went on the computer and deleted his favorite Minecraft world. I also took away computer privileges for the next month.”
The OP’s son began to show signs of depression as a result.
“When I told him, he started screaming and crying. He told me that he spent a whole year working on that world, and he’s very distraught that he’s never going to see it again.”
“He has been crying and sobbing throughout the day and has refused to eat any of his meals.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some pointed out that it should not be a nine-year-old’s responsibility to wake up.
“Is there any punishment that fit this crime?”
“Honestly OP, I’m shocked that you told a nine-year-old it’s their job to regulate their own sleep and expect that to just work out. They’re nine. And then you punished a nine-year-old by deleting something they’ve been working on for over a year for not being able to wake himself up.”
“What a cruel thing to do. It’s your job as a parent to ensure your child is going to sleep and waking up at a reasonable time. And your child suddenly sleeping in most of the morning shouldn’t be cause for punishment, it should be cause for you talking to them and finding out what’s wrong.” – sapphic-internet
“YTA. Oh my goodness. You got this so wrong.”
“Waking himself up is a ridiculous thing for him to be expected to do. Most children at that age are still finding telling the time tricky. “
“Are you supporting him to get to bed on time?”
“You have absolutely destroyed something your son loved so much. Something that was familiar, safe, and positive in a world that is not feeling like any of those things.”
“I’m so sad for your son. I honestly don’t know how you can make this better.” – DrMamaBear
“Isn’t nine like elementary school? OP should definitely still be waking him up! I mean, it’s great if he can do it on his own, but there is nothing wrong with OP helping him along until he’s ready.”
“I didn’t start setting my own alarms until the end of middle school. Maybe my parents just babied me, but this seems unreasonable to me.” – Arry_Potter
“Who expects a nine-year-old in a pandemic to get up on his own?”
“YTA, and this is a pivotal moment in your relationship and you just screwed up royally.”
“He’s nine, right now that was a way for him to cope, and you deleted it? In his head, he is wondering if you want to just delete him, too.”
“You controlling a**hole, he won’t ever forget this.” – SnarkyinKY
“I have a nine-year-old boy and we have no schedule right now. I make him do his schoolwork everyday but I honestly don’t care if he does it at 8 am or 6 pm as long as he does it.”
“It is such a weird and stressful time right now. I know that I’m struggling and I’m an adult who has had a lifetime to develop proper coping mechanisms. Both of my children are staying up late and sleeping late.” – 28jldplrdp
Others agreed and said the punishment did not fit the crime.
“Yeah, there are much better ways to deal with this. Maybe limit his breakfast options if he’s late. Like he can have X and Y, but not Z (his favourite breakfast) if he’s late.”
“Or have sleeping in cut into his screentime. For example, my brother takes ages to shower. But if my parent tell him that he has to shower, and then he can have screen time till 21:00, then my mum has to smell his hair to make sure he even showered.” – ensalys
“I’m 23 years old, and as a gamer and artist, I frequently bounce back and forth between playing Minecraft and other games. The last time I played it was when it was huge years ago but now with the lockdown I’ve gotten more time from school and work so I’ve come back to it.”
“I’ve built stuff I’m incredibly proud of and there’s truly something to be said about making something artistic you can walk through and explore. Also the amount of skill it takes to be about to build something out of only blocks is pretty incredible. The game is easy, but the skill it takes to actually be able to build something that looks good is huge, I’m still not that good at it yet.”
“Any parent who would take an art project that their child has been working on for over a year, and destroy it has failed as a parent.”
“There are other ways to discipline your child. But destroying something you KNOW your child is proud of is just awful. YTA bigtime.” – guitarfreak48
“My family have me (20), my sister (16), and brothers (12 and 7). All of us wake up at different times. Because there’s no school or work, we wake up when our bodies have had enough rest. Everyone has their schoolwork completed before the due date. If someone’s cranky, they get sent to bed earlier.”
“The worst that has happened has been taking away my (7) brothers favourite toys because he throws them when he’s cranky. We’d never dream of throwing away his favourite toys because he has spent a long time decorating them. Similarly, I don’t understand what went through OP’s mind when they decided deleting the minecraft world would stop their kid from waking up late.”
“OP, you’ve not only shown you have no respect for your kid, but they now have nothing to lose.”
“Would you have done the same if this was a painting your son had been working on for a year? Or a novel they had written? Just because it’s a game doesn’t mean any less hard work went into it. Especially when they’ve been working on it for a year! And Minecraft is a difficult game to build in too!”
“I’m not surprised he’s upset. He’s also not eating most likely because he feels sick as he is that upset about it. YTA OP!” – fatimas99
“YTA. Parenting is more about finding ways to get your child to succeed than negative punishment.”
“Not only will your goal of having him wake up not be met… you’ve created additional hardship on your child during these unprecedented times.”
“He’s nine. The punishment did not fit the crime.” – YCtpe
“Look up guides like this and recover the world before it’s overwritten.”
“Apologise to your son, explain that parents sometimes get it wrong and you were being an arsehole, and then institute proper punishment after getting him to check that it’s back.” – Gladfire
Some were sure the OP had done long-lasting damage.
“YTA. They did not teach their son to get up earlier. They have taught their son not to share things they value and not to work on things because their parents will not value the hard work.” – voxnemo
“I suspect the child will be reluctant to share any level of creation they are proud of. OP was shown something they were genuinely proud of, was fully aware of the level of effort and pride their child put in, and destroyed it on purpose.”
“OP, you have absolutely done lasting and serious damage to your relationship with your child, and you have demonstrated that you don’t understand how to discipline them. You didn’t take away a privilege, you destroyed their work. Hope you feel real big.”
“YTA absolutely does not cover the severity of your choices.” – lovelylotuseater
“Apologizing and admitting to a mistake as an adult is also teaching your child something important for the future.”
“Being hard and cruel just teaches them not to rely on you or trust in you, and to cut contact as soon as possible (I’m looking forward to the ‘Why has my adult child become so distant and uncaring?’ AITA from you in a few years).” – Fettnaepfchen
“My mother threw all of my drawings and paintings in the trash when I was eleven. My parents were having marital problems so she took it out on me. This was just one of the things she did. My father never intervened.”
“Up until that point, I was a model child. But after that, I rebelled HARD and entered an intense period in life which could have ended really badly for me. I moved out when I was 19, now I live abroad.”
“I haven’t spoken to my father since I left, because he’s angry that his neglected daughter, traumatised by his drinking, did not stay to take care of him. My mother and I are civil and talk from time to time, because I forgave them for my own sake. I don’t want to spend my life bitter. I decided to be nice and respectful of others.”
“OP, if that’s not clear, YTA, and what you did is despicable and damaging to such a young child. It took me YEARS to recover from the damage my parents have done. Shame on you.” – lilififigrr
“The feeling of losing 1 year’s work is so f**king cutting that it makes one not want to even invest in something that deeply and creatively again for a while.”
“I lost some music I had been working on for 6 months in an emergency back in 2011 and even though it was no one’s fault but my own, I couldn’t bring myself to really try properly for a good year or two.”
“Without feeling safety or feeling like it’s a safe space for you to invest yourself, this kid will sadly limit his expression and investment into activities that could be ‘taken away’ at any time.”
“Woodworking, art, music, video games, writing, making videos, whatever it is, he probably won’t feel comfortable doing it under his parent’s roof for years, if ever.” – old__pyrex
“YTA. I’m so sad for your son, OP. My son is about the same age and I can’t imagine purposefully doing something so mean to him.”
“Is it possible he is not sleeping well because he is stressed, or anxious because the entire world has changed pretty abruptly? Is it possible that he is more tired than he normally would be because his mind is processing big changes right now?”
“Is it possible his circadian rhythm doesn’t align with your idea of when he should be awake? There are a lot of possibilities but you choose to believe he was being either lazy or disrespectful.”
“My mom was like you. To this day, I have trouble opening up to her and showing her anything I am proud of. I knew it was ammunition that could be used against me.”
“I self-sabotage, because I’d rather take something away from myself than let someone take it away from me, and even though I’ve been out of her home for 20 years, I still fight myself to not self-sabotage, because no one can hurt me anymore.”
“He worked on this for a year. And now he’s stuck in isolation and social distancing with someone who values getting up at 7 more than the work he put in to creating something.” – RavenVixy
To say that the subReddit was heartbroken for the OP’s son and furious with the OP would be the understatement of the century.
Not only did the OP not teach their son anything valuable about rising at a certain time in the morning and listening to an alarm clock, but they showed their son that they see more value in a disciplined rising time than individuality and creative expression.